As part of a restructuring that started last year, Sealed Air Corp. plans to close a specialty-bag conversion plant near Atlanta during the first quarter.
The facility in Peachtree City, Ga., makes tamper-evident mailers and security bags used by financial institutions and retailers to deposit cash and documents. About 83 employees at the plant will be laid off, said spokesman Chip Cook of Sealed Air, based in Saddle Brook, N.J.
The facility was formerly part of Sealed Air's Trigon Security Products, before Sealed Air dropped the Trigon name and merged the site into its protective and specialty packaging segment. Coextrusion equipment used to make the polyethylene deposit and shipping bags will be moved to other Sealed Air locations, Cook said.
``The work will be spread out into other locations,'' Cook said. ``The key point is that we are not closing this due to the loss of product. We have an opportunity to consolidate and make our operations more efficient.''
The plant shuttering is part of a previously announced business review and restructuring at Sealed Air. The company is in the process of eliminating 300 positions, including the Georgia employees, from a work base of more than 17,000 people globally. No other recent plant closings have been announced.
The company may announce more changes when it releases fiscal-year financial figures on Jan. 24, Cook said. The company eliminated about 188 manufacturing, sales and marketing positions in North America and Europe through the first nine months of 2001, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Sales at publicly held Sealed Air were fairly flat for the first nine months of 2001. But its protective and specialty packaging segment declined about 2 percent during that period, to $896 million. Overall profit also declined slightly.
The company's consolidation moves make good economic sense, said Scott Davis, an equity analyst with New York-based Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. And while Sealed Air has laid off some employees, Davis does not expect a wider slashing of its work force.
``Business in general is not great, and they will be aggressively taking costs out of the system,'' Davis said. ``More than half their business is directly tied to the cyclical nature of the economy. But they don't have a bloated infrastructure, and there isn't a drastic need to make more major cutbacks.''
A trending down in PE prices since early 2001 will help Sealed Air keep its profit fairly steady, Davis added. ``We expect them to meet and beat their conservative estimates,'' he said.
Sealed Air bought the Trigon facility months before it acquired W.R. Grace Co.'s Cryovac Division in 1998. In the United States, Sealed Air also makes many of those security bags at a facility in Kent, Wash., Cook said.
Sealed Air has 115 manufacturing locations in 46 countries.